This joyfully eccentric, rambling house takes pride of place on a vast, 54 acre mountain estate, without doubt, one of the most beautiful locations in rural Spain ...
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Five (two doubles and two twin bedded in the main house; one double in an adjoining cottage).
Private swimming pool
12 x 5 m; 0.8 - 1.8 m deep.
In open countryside, 3 km from El Gastor in Los Pueblos Blancos region (Province of Cádiz).
From 1,730 € to 2,090 € per week.
This vast, 54 acre estate, just north of Ronda on the edge of the Grazalema National Park, is one of the most beautiful rural locations in all Spain. Several years ago it was selected by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine as one of its top 100 rural tourism destinations in Europe.
Owned and developed by a French concert pianist with an artist's eye for beauty, the estate has thirteen holiday villas and five swimming pools located in three distinct, separate parts of the mountainside.
Distances between them are such that there is no sense of crowding here, no sense of being part of a complex.
Each of the thirteen houses is decorated to a high standard, with bright interiors designed to be in keeping with traditional building styles of the area.
All have air-conditioning, central heating and local digital TV with USB connection and some programs in their original language.
With five beautiful outdoor swimming pools, a communal tennis court and surroundings of gorgeous countryside as far as the eye can see, many clients come year after year.
It is not, however, luxurious. Style here, both inside and out, is deliberately rustic, rural and natural.
The estate is maintained in its authentic state, with paths roughly hewn rather than neatly paved and pristine. There are flowers, shrubs and trees a plenty but no immaculately kept lawns or neatly trimmed hedges - it's real, rugged mountain countryside, real Andalucía!
Situated three kilometres down a mountain track (which is always maintained in excellent condition) from the traditional, pretty pueblo blanco of El Gastor, this is not a location suited to those in search of bright lights or even a wide range of local facilities.
But anyone looking for authenticity and tranquillity will treasure this unspoilt paradise.
There are stunning views in every direction, encompassing the Lake of Zahara, the Lagarín Ridge and huge swathes of the Grazalema National Park.
It's a paradise for lovers of birds, large and small. The Lagarín Ridge which soars up almost vertically behind the estate was once a favourite hide-away for the regions' bandoleros.
Home to a colony of griffon vultures, short toed and bonnelli eagles and with sightings here of a pair of golden eagles, the only other inhabitants these days are the famous Cabra Montes, the Ibex mountain goats.
Above all else, this is a place to relax and unwind, to stroll and explore, to read or paint, or just lounge by the pool and enjoy the wondrous nature all around.
A joyfully eccentric, rambling house set in its own five acres of wild and exotic gardens, with stunning mountain views, "La Casa Grande" hugs the hillside like a beacon.
It's a lovely house, one with lots of character which offers up delight after delight - be it reclining on silk cushions in its minaret-like tower, sipping mint tea and admiring the marvellous views, or maybe reposing on the Alhambra-esque patio.
The tinkle of the fountain is a great salve for stressed urbanites.
There are many enchanting features, but remember that it's well worn and it isn't spotless. But it certainly has character and is a lot of fun if you are prepared to enjoy it for what it is.
In the spacious living room a grand piano (although not fully tuned) and the impressive mountain panorama seen through the huge picture windows is a source of inspiration for any musician.
The kitchen is no more than rustic but adequately equipped. Meals can be taken in front of the aged stone hearth in the beamed dining room or outside on the cobbled terrace in the pale green shade cast by a lovely old carob tree.
Two twin bedrooms share a bathroom on the ground floor whilst on the upper level there are two double bedrooms each with its own en-suite bathroom.
For bookings of ten guests, an adjacent, self-contained studio cottage (which is part of the rental) is used along with the main house. The cottage has a double bed, a little kitchenette area and a shower room / W.C.
The five acres of private gardens are a riot of colour with not a few hidden treasures. Pathways zigzag the hillside, passing spiky yuccas, roses and lavender, on their way to the tempting, naturally-shaped swimming pool.
With the glorious countryside of the Grazalema Natural Park literally on the doorstep this is, quite simply, a great place to be.
Mountain bikes can be hired locally for those wishing to explore, and of course, you can also use the estate's tennis court (balls and rackets are provided). It's not in pristine condition but good enough to have a fun, friendly game.
El Gastor, the nearest village, is a short drive away (or a very pleasant 3 km walk).
The village has several bars and restaurants, and a number of shops (bakery, butcher's, greengrocers etc.). The people of the village are very welcoming and you are bound to make new friends should you venture out for lunch or dinner.
For trips out, you are spoilt for choice here. Ronda is half an hour away. Straddling the extraordinary Tajo Gorge which plunges to a depth of more than 150 metres, it is known as "The City of Dreams". With its mansion houses, quaint narrow streets, museums, art galleries and Spain's oldest bullring, it is well worth visiting.
The Grazalema National Park begins, literally, on your doorstep. This is one of the most beautiful tracks of mountain anywhere in Europe, with an astonishingly diverse flora and fauna.
There are deep gorges, high peaks and some of Spain’s most attractive rural architecture. Most villages in the Park date back to the Moorish period and their names reflect their Berber origins: Benamahoma, Torre Alháquime …
Grazalema, Zahara and Setenil are all close by and worth visiting.
Active types can indulge in a wide range of outdoor pursuits - hill walking, mountain biking (some bicycles are available on the estate), horse-riding and rock climbing.
Sevilla, just an hour and a half to the north west, is a fabulous day excursion. Granada can be also be visited as a day trip. Jerez with its numerous sherry bodegas and the Royal School of Equestrian Art is an hour away.
The beaches of the Costa del Sol are little more than a one hour drive to the south; the sensational Atlantic beaches on La Costa de la Luz are a couple of hours to the west.
Weather permitting, the swimming pool will be open throughout the year (although, because it's not heated, the normal swimming season is from late April to September, inclusive).
Rentals for this property normally run from from Sunday to Sunday.
A breakfast service is available on request, paid for locally based on requirements.
The above prices include the studio cottage allowing up to 10 guests.
A 250 Euro security deposit is required on each booking. This is held against your credit or debit card and will be cancelled one week after your holiday, subject to any reductions for breakages or damage. See Terms and Conditions for full details.
Accessed by a countryside track (in good condition), 3 km from the village of El Gastor (simple shopping, bar / restaurants, banks with ATM, pharmacy etc.) in Los Pueblos Blancos region (Province of Cádiz).
Algodonales (basic facilities) 20 mins; Ronda (all facilities) 25 mins; Zahara de la Sierra (one excellent restaurant) 25 mins; Grazalema (most facilities) 30 mins; Arcos de la Frontera (all facilities) 55 mins.
Costa del Sol 1½ hrs; Costa de la Luz 2 hrs.
Jerez 1¼ hrs; Sevilla 1½ hrs; Málaga 1¾ hrs; Gibraltar 2¼ hrs
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Sitting on a steep hillside 590 metres up from the nearby lake, El Gastor (pop: 1,900) is as neat as a pin, known locally as the “Balcony of the White Villages”